Does your team have clearly agreed ways of working?

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In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How great is your team?’, I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that makes a great team. The first aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’ and ‘Team alignment around critical goals’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the third installment; ‘Does your team have clearly agreed way of working?’

In recent senior team strategic and leadership facilitations for a leading insurance company, I asked the question: what kind of work should you be mostly doing? The answer was: ‘Strategic Work’. Then I asked: what kind of work do you mostly do? The answer was: ‘Operational Work’. Then I asked what do you think the reason for that is?. After a short discussion it was clear to everyone that it was due to the absence of leadership that requires developing, delegating, engaging, energizing and create an environment for healthy interactions to get freed up from operational responsibilities to find the time to do the required strategic work.

There are 4 possible ways of working based on the responsibilities and roles of the team. These levels include strategic, tactical, operational and interactive. It is important for the team to have clarity and alignment regarding this and to know which other related teams operates in which way with clarity of the interface relationships.

  1. Strategic work: Strategic work involves being able to predict the future business environment in the areas of political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal, referred by the acronym PESTAL. They need to do this by having intellectual connections to various channels of information, being able to extrapolate current happenings to the future, being able to see strategic intentions of actions, behaviours and information provided by business movers and shakes. It involves planning for the long-term taking the strategic realities in to consideration. Being able to make investments in people, technology and business relationships in the present to prepare for the future.  A large potion of senior leadership time should be allocated to strategic work. A moderate amount of next level leadership time should be allocated to strategic work. Junior team members should understand the strategic relevance of current decisions and plans and should provide information that has strategic implications to enable higher-level leaders to improve their effectiveness of their strategic work.

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